As reported here and everywhere, the 2017 breach of Equifax credit reporting agency exposed critical PII (personally identifiable information) for 147 million Americans. It remains equally notorious for Equifax’s botched handling of the breach as well as the thundering silence (until now) from the government on what should be done to address the appalling privacy breach as well as what consequences the company should face as a result. If it had been announced a few months earlier, Equifax’s settlement with the FTC, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, and 50 US States and Territories for $575-700M might seem significant, but in the face of the record $5B fine levied against Facebook just two weeks prior, the amount seems paltry, especially considering that Equifax reported revenue of $3.41B in 2018.
What does this mean for you?
From a raw-math perspective, this settlement values your most critical financial data (full name, address, social security number, email address, phone number, credit card numbers, bank account numbers…feel ill yet?) at around $2-3 dollars. Yup, sorry, no “B” or “M” or even “K” following those numbers. Two dollars.
However, if you are willing to put in the work, you can possibly claw back as much as $20,000 depending on your circumstances. For a more comprehensive outline of how you can get your share of the Equifax settlement, the Wall Street Journal spells it out fairly well, but I’ll hit the high notes if you want to hit the ground running from here:
- Were you affected by the Equifax breach?
- Check your credit report.
- Get email updates about the settlement.
- You are entitled to up to 6 free Equifax credit reports a year from 2020 through 2027.
- You may be partially compensated for credit monitoring or identity protection paid for between 9/7/2016 and 9/7/2017.
- You may be eligible for free identity restoration services for at least seven year.
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